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VIDEO: CCTV captures moments thief dumped car with baby Leo Moulsdale inside at Billinge Arms pub
12:00pm Friday 25th January 2013 in News
CCTV shows the hooded thief ditching the stolen Subaru outside the Billinge Arms before fleeing across Main Street.
FOOTAGE has emerged that shows the dramatic moments a thief abandons a stolen car with a baby on a back seat before fleeing the scene.
Seven-week-old Leo Moulsdale was found safe in the blue Subaru Impreza that was ditched close to the Billinge Arms pub, on Main Street, Billinge.
Now police are hunting the car thief and are appealing for witnesses who may have seen him ditching the vehicle on the pub car park, which is opposite a row of shops.
The moments he parks the car and flees across Main Street have been caught on camera.
CCTV also shows how a friend of Leo’s mother then arrives and finds him safe.
The theft happened at 7.35pm on Tuesday when Leo’s father Tom had parked up on Moor Road in Orrell, Wigan and was stood outside talking with a friend.
They suddenly became aware a man had sneaked into the driver’s seat of the car.
As the thief began to turn the vehicle around, plasterer Tom, 24, tried to open the passenger door, screaming: “There’s a baby in the car”.
But the crook drove off onto St James’ Road in the direction of Billinge.
Around 15 minutes later, police were tipped off via an anonymous call from a phone box that a baby had been left in an abandoned car close to the Billinge Arms pub.
However, a friend of the baby’s mother – who had been alerted that Leo had been taken – spotted the car and found him safe before officers arrived.
Leo was reunited with his parents shortly afterwards.
Speaking this week, Leo’s mother Louise Waine, said Tom was looking after the baby for the first time on his own while she visited a friend’s house nearby.
After dropping Louise off, Tom, a plasterer drove home with their son on the back seat but stopped at her brother’s house to drop off some money from a recent job.
Suddenly they noticed the thief near the car – and he jumped in the driver’s seat and drove off.
Louise’s brother Lee got into his van to chase but he could not keep up as the speeding stolen car hit the kerb and run a red light.
Tom phoned the police and Louise, who had seen the car speed past seconds earlier.
Within minutes a large group of friends were searching the area.
- Frantic: Louise Waine with her fiance Thomas Mousdale face a terrifying 15 minute wait after baby Leo was snatched.
Louise said: "Tom had given me a kiss before I left. I was just having a brew and when I got the phone call I just froze. I couldn't take it all in and couldn't get my words out.
"At first I thought he was joking because the previous day we were talking about a lady who had had her car stolen with her baby in and I even said how awful and I couldn't imagine ever been in that position. I thought he was playing a joke because of that.
"He screamed down the phone 'the car has been stolen and Leo is in the back'. He told me he was shouting to him that the baby was in there. Tom kept saying to me 'I'm sorry I'm sorry'. He was crying.
"I just said 'are you joking?' He said ‘no I'm sorry I'm so sorry’. I couldn't believe it and screamed to my friends what had happened."
She added: "As Thomas ran across the road-literally a few metres the man actually started to do a three-point turn. Tom was trying to get into the car pulling at the passenger door.
"He was shouting 'my baby is in there my baby is in there'. He said he felt helpless. He did manage to open the passenger door but then the car sped off and dragged him along the street.
"He was crying as he watched the car drive off while still on the floor.
"At the end of the road there are some traffic lights. Tom thought he would be able to get him then so he started to run after him.
“But as he did so the car sped off - he has never ran so fast in his life he was waving his arms and shouting 'my baby my baby'.
"He had said that the driver even looked into his eyes and then he put his foot down.
"Tom is a big guy he is 6 foot tall and 17 stone but still this man was not scared.
"When Tom phones me it could have only lasted a few seconds - I couldn't breathe. I was hyperventilating. I told him that I'd heard the car go past and told him which direction and that it was towards the next village.
- 'My baby's in the car!': Seven-week-old Leo was on the back seat of the stolen car
"I literally run out of the house with my friends and jumped into the car. I didn't even have my shoes on. We didn't know where we were going but we just set off in a panic. I don't even remember the journey.
"It was like I was in a movie I felt paralysed and panicky, to me this wasn't real, this wasn't happening to me.
”I just told my friend to drive I didn't know where or in which direction it was all a blur. We just set off frantic and looking around for the car.
"My phone started ringing and it was my friend Rosie. She said that the car had had just overtaken hers at first and thought it was Tom but realised he was driving erratically knew he would not drive like that with the baby in the back.
"My head was just spinning I just wanted my baby back it was cold and dark and icy and I thought that I may never see him again. I kept thinking surely he would not hurt a baby, surely not but I just didn't know.
"I was hoping that he would just dump the car.
"It was my friend Rosie who found him . She called me saying that she had found the car and it was abandoned in the pub car park.
- 'Leo is my everything': Louise Waine with her son.
“She told me straight away that Leo was safe and asleep and was in the back all cuddled up in his seat.
"He had slept through the whole thing he hadn't even blinked an eyelid. I was just so glad he didn't have to go through it all.
"When I got there I just ran over to the car without my shoes and took him out of the seat and cuddled him I couldn't believe it. I was just so thankful he had been found and it hadn't been too long.
"I didn't want to let go of Leo I held him in my arms all night and cuddled him and gave him lots of kisses. I didn't want to let him out of my sight.”
"Leo is my everything I can't even begin to imagine what could have happened."
Detective Constable Brendan Greally appealed for the public’s help: “We are urging anyone who saw the incident, or who witnessed the car being abandoned in Billinge to call police.
“Merseyside Police was alerted by an anonymous call from a telephone box just a few yards from where the car was left on Main Street.
“We are very keen to speak to this man, or anyone who saw a man making the call at around 7.45 to 7.50pm.”
- The thief parks the car up at the Billinge Arms.
The offender is described as a white male in his 20s wearing a dark coloured bob hat, a dark hooded top and lighter coloured trousers or tracksuit bottoms.
Louise added: "I can't believe somebody would do something like this I just want him to come forward - he must have a conscience.
"I would tell people to definitely not leave a baby in your car. Just look what could happen. Thankfully we are so lucky that he has been found and he is safe and well.
"Although I am glad that the offender did call the police saying the car was abandoned and in the car park I am still fuming he can't go around stealing peoples things he could have killed my baby.”
The theft comes just a fortnight after a thief drove away in a car with a baby on the back seat in Rainhill.
On that occasion the thief also abandoned the car a short time later. The incidents are not believed to be connected.
Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.